The Reality of Diet Pills and Weight Loss

Diet pills promise to suppress your appetite or outright “melt the pounds away”. However, they often pose a significant risk to your health, whether or not they help you or not. Let’s cut through the hype and get to the truth about diet pills and weight loss.

They Put Your Health at Risk

Many over-the-counter diet drugs do suppress your appetite, because they are powerful stimulants. This also means that they increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Any such drug can cause tachycardia and raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The 1990s weight loss drug Fen-Phen even caused heart valve damage.

If a doctor prescribed these supplements despite knowing about your poor cardiovascular health, they’re going to be dealing with malpractice suits very shortly. Medical professionals who prescribe dosages higher than what is considered safe can be sued for medical malpractice.

Diet drug manufacturers could face medical malpractice cases simply for making false or inflated claims regarding their products. For example, medical malpractice cases have arisen out of studies showing that several diet supplements and body building supplements were linked to liver injury. Any company continuing to use the culprits after that information came out can be sued.


They Really Don’t Result in Long-Term Weight Loss

Diet drugs may suppress your appetite for a few hours, but they don’t change your eating habits or your exercise routine. And it is a permanent change toward lower caloric intake and higher activity levels that helps continue to lose weight and keep it off. This is why many people who do lose 10 pounds with diet pills tend to gain it back.

If you’re using diuretics, you’ll literally gain it all back once you’re properly hydrated. Don’t take diuretic pills unless you’re suffering from bloating due to PMS or a similar condition. And it is outright dangerous to use diuretic pills while you’re out in the heat or working up a sweat, because it could cause you to pass out due to dehydration.

It Can Be Counterproductive

Suppose you’re taking diet drugs to suppress your appetite. You may eat less. And because you’re eating less, your body may go into starvation mode. It then becomes more efficient in using the calories that you do consume. This can cause you to gain weight when eat a proper diet and gain weight faster if you go back to your prior eating habits. You may fail to lose weight on the diet drugs, too, if you over-eat at dinner when the diet drugs wear off. Or you may be so tired due to the low caloric intake and dehydration caused by stimulants that you can’t go exercise. On the other hand, some mistakenly think that the accelerated heart rate caused by the drugs is just as good at burning calories as going for a run. Then they don’t go workout when they need to do so if they’re going to lose the weight.

It Doesn’t Solve the Underlying Causes of Weight Gain

Are you over-eating due to stress and anxiety? Diet drugs containing stimulants may make the anxiety worse, and it does nothing to address the coping mechanism – eating high sugar, high fat foods to feel better. If you’re gaining weight due to pre-diabetes, declining thyroid function or another hormonal problem, diet drugs do nothing to treat the underlying condition. In fact, taking the diet drugs instead of getting a correct diagnoses and proper treatment may allow the problem to get worse.

Posted in


Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.